Race Report: Madison Mini Marathon Race Recap

Note: While I’m still sad I wasn’t able to run the Madison Mini Marathon last weekend, I am happy to tell you I still have a race recap to share! Remember when I gave away a race entry? Well, the winner, Keegan Korthauer, agreed to share HER race recap! And guess what?! SHE PR’D! #likeaboss.

Here’s Keegan, rocking her 2010 Madison Mini shirt and enjoying a beer post-race.

Amy of Losing It Without Losing Me graciously provided me with a free entry to this race!  I have participated in this race since 2010.  In 2010 I ran the half, and it was my second ever race, first of that distance.  I came back in 2011 to try out the 5K, and this year ran the half again.  I was worried about the weather for this event, given the extreme heat we’ve been having here in WI this summer (and having had the Madison Marathon cancelled on me in late May), but it turned out to be the most perfect running weather.  Low 50s at the start, sunny and a very light breeze.  I arrived at Memorial Union around 6:30am for the 7am start, jogged ½ a mile, and lined up at the porta-johns.  There was actually a huge line, and there was some question of whether I’d have time to go or not.  Luckily everyone sensed the urgency and the line sped up!  I had just enough time to speed-walk up to my corral.  The corrals were big enough that we weren’t packed in like sardines (this was an issue for me in the 2010 race).

The gun went off at 7am on the dot and we headed straight for the Capitol square and alongside the lovely farmer’s market.  I got to high-five Bucky and hear the UW pep band.  There was no bottle-necking or snags of people to get around at the beginning so I was able to pace myself appropriately from the very start.  The route then continued down State Street (the main drag of town) where there was great crowd support. A sign that said “I’m proud of you, perfect stranger” made me smile!

After meandering around the south end of the UW campus, we ventured into the Vilas neighborhood toward the Arboretum.  This provided a few very scenic miles, though lacking in crowd support. It was actually a little chilly (though refreshing!) since it was more shaded.  Some rolling hills were involved, but nothing too noteworthy.  I made an effort to speed up on the down-hills to make up for the slower pace on the up-hills and keep the overall pace consistent.

Here’s Keegan running the Haunted Hustle.

After exiting the Arboretum, we made our way back on to neighborhood streets toward campus.  I saw a ‘Call me maybe’ themed sign which made me laugh.  When we passed the ten mile marker, I noted that I had just PR’d in the 10 mile by almost a minute and realized it was a legitimate possibility for a PR in the half.   I skipped a few aid stations here, as there were more than enough.  I had just been taking a few sips of Gatorade here and there but wasn’t really thirsty since it wasn’t hot out.

Heading toward Picnic Point on the shore of Lake Mendota, I started feeling pretty fatigued and unsure I could keep up my pace.  Around then, thankfully, I spotted the 1:45 pace group, which gave me a boost of confidence, and I just tried to keep them in my line of sight as much as possible.  It also helped that the last 1.5 miles or so are on Lakeshore path, which is part of my regular running route and I knew it was all flat until right before the finish chute.  Unfortunately I knew there was also a little hill right before the finish chute which was very rough.  I did my best to sprint it in, but I don’t think I really sped up!  I must have looked spent after crossing the line, since a volunteer asked if I needed help.  I was fine after a few deep breaths, and ran over to my friend who was a volunteer medal distributor and gave her a big, sweaty hug!

I quickly grabbed all my swag – water, banana, chips, cookies, beer, etc. and rounded up my cheer section.  We chatted on the terrace overlooking the lake before setting out on a walk around the farmer’s market.  That made for a nice cool-down!  My official time was 1:45:50, which was a PR by just over 2 minutes.   They also recorded some splits which confirmed that this was the most evenly-paced race I’ve ever done: 5 Mile – 40:06 (8:02 pace), 10 Mile – 1:20:54 (8:06 pace), and last 5K – 24:56 (8:03 pace).

Keegan is a running machine!

Thank you, Keegan, for sharing your race report! And, congrats on your new, shiny PR!

Race Recap: Rock ‘n Sole Quarter Marathon *PR

All week long I was nervous about this race. I have only ran once (maybe twice) since RAGNAR two weeks ago. I had a charlie horse during that race and couldn’t finish my last leg. I’m recovering from a quad strain. I moved last weekend. Blah Blah Blah.

Pacers and besties
Before the race, the Milwaukee Art Museum looked like a space ship.

I knew I wasn’t going to skip this race, I just had to decide if I was going to run the race I registered for (half marathon) or drop back to the quarter marathon at the split. As the week progressed, I started leaning more and more towards the quarter. I need to be smart. Marathon training only calls for 6 miles this weekend, so a quarter marathon is RIGHT ON TARGET. But most of my friends doing the race were running (or pacing) the half. I realized that I had to focus on me and what was right for me at this point of my training.

As I lined up in the middle of Corral K (we were not corralled by last name, as I originally thought)… the LAST corral… I was still pretty sure I would be running the quarter marathon… but there was a little part of me that thought if I felt AWESOME at the split (around mile 5) I would think about keeping on in the half. I talked with Michelle for awhile (who was also unprepared for the half, but who kicked some ass anyways)… and my sis-daughter (college sorority) Bethany, along with her in-laws. I wasn’t nervous, despite the daunting task of running over the HOAN BRIDGE… TWICE… in my immediate future. I am not one for training on hills. EVER. So, running up a bridge in the first quarter mile of a race? Not something I would prefer to do. But I did.

Approaching 794

The race started (I can only assume, as we couldn’t hear the gun or see the front of the race in the last corral), and I began running. I told myself to stay smart. Don’t push the pace, especially UP the bridge. I ran the first half mile or so and had to take a walking break, which I fully expected. I have asthma and elevation changes (along with running, duh), affect my lungs pretty severely. The foggy mist didn’t help. I walked for a minute and kept going. The fog began to dissipate as I reached the apex of the bridge, under the big yellow arches. I felt good. My hamstrings and glutes were not very happy, but I kept on keeping on.

Zombie apocalypse in 3…2…1…
There it is!!!

I walked through the first water stop, felt great. Had a little gatorade and a cup of water. And took off running again. We began to see the front of the pack approaching in the southbound lanes (headed north). I saw many friends and waved. I felt surprisingly good. My quad didn’t hurt at all. I began to get in a groove. I was ACTUALLY PASSING PEOPLE. You faster people might not understand what a BIG FUCKING DEAL THAT IS FOR A SLOW RUNNER. I smiled with glee. I couldn’t believe it.

I am such a dork!

I headed down to the turnaround in Bay View and saw Annie and Marty cheering! YAYZ. Then I rounded the corner, walked through the water stop and headed back up onto 794.


As I neared the top of the exit ramp, I was in awe by what I saw. There was MY city. Laid out so pretty. The fog/mist was nearly gone. The sun was shining. The city never looked so damn beautiful. AND I WAS ABOUT TO RUN TOWARDS IT! I was seriously in awe of the view at this point of the race. Normally, when you take 794 to downtown, you’re in a car, driving 50+ mph. I got to run (4-5mph) and really soak it in. I fricking love Milwaukee. I really do. I could have HUGGED it. I love it so.

I approached the yellow arches of the Hoan Bridge with determination. I felt REALLY great. I knew I was going to rock the rest of the race. As I headed down to Lincoln Memorial Drive, I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of what I had just done. I RAN OVER THE HOAN. TWICE. EEEK.

I saw the half/quarter split point, and as much as I was tempted, I knew I needed to be smart and follow the quarter course. BUT OH WAS I TEMPTED.

At this point, I started to pick up speed. I saw paces in the 12s and 13s on my garmin. DURING THE LAST 2 MILES OF THE RACE.



I turned up Michigan and ran past Discovery World into Lakeshore State Park (one of my FAVORITEST places to run). As I ran past the lagoon, I could feel how close I was to the finish. I still had strength, so I willed myself to pick up the pace. I kept hearing Marty‘s voice saying “LAST MILE FASTEST.”

I began to run faster. I passed nearly 10 people during the last mile of the race. AGAIN THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I GET PASSED. I DONT PASS PEOPLE. I had a BIG OL’ STUPID SMILE on my face as I entered the finish chute.

I got my medal and water and started walking to the bananas. (My nemesis, but required post-run food). I looked at my medal and saw that it said HALF marathon on it. I realized that the volunteers probably saw my half marathon bib and figured I did that race. Let me tell you, there is no way I will every finish a half marathon in the time it took me to finish the quarter marathon today. I went back to the medals area and told the volunteer I couldn’t accept a half marathon medal for running the quarter distance. It just wouldn’t have been right. I was able to switch medals and continued through the finish line area. As I grabbed some chocolate milk, I had two separate women approach me and tell me that they used me as their pacer for the last few miles of the race. They each told me that they saw me looking so strong and willed themselves to keep up with me to the finish. They said in the last mile, it just got too hard to keep up with me when I took off.

I can honestly tell you guys that I was *this close* to collapsing in tears. These women I don’t know told me that I was their inspiration to keep going in the race. They saw me not giving up and they knew they couldn’t either. Even recalling our conversations now, I am tearing up. Ladies, I don’t know who you are, but if you happen to see this, please know that you made my day. You can’t know just how much those kind words meant to me. I could have hugged you both but I thought it might be weird of me to do that.

I finished my first quarter marathon with a time of 1:38:24, a 14:50 pace for 6.63 miles. I have NEVER EVER seen an overall pace in the 14s for any distance more than 4 miles.

Only time you will ever see my name, “half marathon” and a time in the 1s. LOL.


It was so great to see KristaRochelle, & Matt J. (2:10 half pacers), Tracey G. (who kicked ass and had her 2nd fastest half marathon time!), Renee H.Sara K.Aaron K.Karla With A K., Mo, Katie B., Paal, Michelle, Bethany, Jennifer, Brianne, Alicia H.Tony V.Jeff M., Eric, Jessica G.Annie and Marty at some point before, during or after the race!

Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/amykant/entries/16034477



Wahoo! PR by almost 2 minutes! Gun time was 44:41, but I didn’t cross the start until about 52 sec after the gun… so HOLLER for a PR, POWERED BY BACON.

I felt pretty good out there. Just kept my head down and kept on trucking. Slow and steady. Only walked through the water stop, though I wanted to walk a little more, I waited until I had sprinted to the finish. Today, I actually passed people. That never happens.

Good to see so many friends out there – Annie Mandi Mike C. Agustin J S. and volunteers Marty andRochelle! (And I think I saw Rebecca H. too!)

And congrats to Tim C. Matt J. Renee H. Tracey G. Sun T. and btw Sara K. you placed 3rd in your division! ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELVES.

No clue on splits, due to my forgetting my garmin. I bet if I wouldn’t have walked those 30ish seconds of the water stop, I could have had an overall pace in the 13s, which would have been bad.ass.

Roll Mobile’s Rick Rollers

It’s that time of year again… RAGNAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!

Friday morning, I’ll begin a 200-mile, 30-hour journey with 11 friends from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois!

Last year, we were 12 Sweaty Nuts. This year, we are Rick Rollers.

Yep. The image above WILL be printed on giant magnets for our vans.

If you want to follow my team’s shenanigans (trust me, it’ll be hilarious), follow us on Twitter @RollsRickRoller. You can also find us:

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay


I’m writing this post not only for my own benefit, but also for any of you Ragnar Relay virgins. There’s a few things you should know, that I didn’t know or didn’t want to believe going into the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay last summer.

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay*:

1. Get two 15-passenger vans for your team of 12.

2. Find a driver for each van.

3. Bring a GPS (and pre-program all the exchange points in it).

4. Pack one running outfit for each leg you’re running (bottoms, top, sports bra, underwear, socks).

5. Pack each leg’s outfit in a separate 1 gallon Ziploc bag. This makes it easy when you need to change – no digging through your bag – and it keeps the stank contained.

6. You can pack toothpaste/toothbrush/soap/shampoo but you’ll be pretty damn lucky if you get to use any of it.

7. Embrace the stank or take a whore shower (aka babywipe bath).

8. Bring gum. You and the rest of your van will appreciate it (see above).

9. Don’t expect any more than 1-2 hours of sleep. If you’re lucky.

10. Pack one set of sweatpants/sweatshirt or lounge gear. This will be good for in between legs and for at the finish.

11. Bring an extra pair of running shoes in case it rains.

12. After dark, take a headlamp or flashlight to the port-a-potty. You don’t want to know what happens when you try to go in the dark.

13. Hand sanitizer. See #12.

14. Baby wipes. Get a big ol’ box of them. They can be used as toilet paper if you find the port-a-potty or yay-omg-flush-toilet is empty.

15. Deodorant. Use it. Love it.

16. Body Glide.

17. Bring a car charger for your cell phone, iPod and/or Garmin.

18. Don’t overpack, whether it be running gear, food or other supplies. Bring only what you need. The extra bags/coolers/etc will get annoying.

19. Plan for fun. Ragnar isn’t just about running a race. It’s the experience. You’ll want to have some fun games or other activities you and your teammates can do – frisbee, whiffle ball, kickball, foursquare, etc.

20. Give your drivers/volunteers a thank you gift of some kind – whether it’s a gift certificate to their favorite store, a team shirt, or picking up their tab at the post-race party, make sure they know how much you appreciate them!

21. Car markers – have fun with them, but know that you will have to clean off your van before you return it to the rental agency.

22. Perhaps you should spring for a carwash on the ride home, rather than cleaning the van with baby wipes. Yeah, that happened.

23. Take lots of pictures and videos. You will want to remember the experience days…weeks…months…years later.

24. During night-time runs, especially along dark paths, wave your hand infront of your headlamp as you approach another runner. It’s a nice heads up that you’re behind them.

25. Designate one person from your van to bring a foam roller and/or running stick. See #18.

26. Bring your ID if you want to drink at the post-race party (trust me, you will).

27. Have each person in your van bring a refillable water bottle and/or whatever hydration method they use for running (fuel belt, Nathan handheld, Camelback, etc). Then, bring a few gallon jugs of water to use for refilling. You will save the environment by not purchasing a case of bottled water.

28. At every exchange, get out of your van and cheer on your teammates. They will appreciate your support, high fives, and ass-slaps.

29. Bring a hat or visor. It will keep the sun out of your eyes during the day and, if for some reason it rains, will keep the rain out of your eyes.

30. Plan for 1 cooler per van. You only need to keep perishable items cold, in addition to whatever you plan on eating or drinking next. See #18.

31. Have everyone in your van sign up to bring certain food/drink items, or designate one person to pick it all up. Stick to your list. This ensures you follow rule #18. (Have you noticed #18 is important?)

32. Get team shirts made or wear similar costumes. Think of it as a team uniform.

33. Follow safety guidelines established by Ragnar. Use the flags when crossing the street. Wear your headlamp, tail light and reflective vest. Make sure people see you!

34. Many legs of the race are classified as “non-support” legs. Pack your own race nutrition! I’m a fan of shot blocks.

35. Make sure someone in your van packs bug spray and sunscreen!

36. Have fun. Ragnar will be one of the craziest weekends of your life. Soak it all in and above all, enjoy it.

 * Why 36? Why 1 rule for each leg, of course!

Have you ever done a Ragnar Relay, Hood to Coast or a similar relay? What advice would you have for newbies?

Note: Read my 2011 Ragnar Journey here.

And the winner is…

Thank you to the more than 40 people who entered the contest for a registration to the Madison Mini Marathon! I was absolutely blown away by the response and the awesome advice you’ve all shared.

If you haven’t taken a look, please take the time and read through the advice shared on this post.

You guys are seriously AMAZING.

Ok, so what you’ve been waiting for.

Congratulations to…

Keegan – you’re the winner! And how true is your comment? I always regret not working out. Except for tonight. I totally bailed on it. And I don’t feel guilty because I have a box of Girl Scout Cookies to keep me company.

Please send me an email (me@losingitwithoutlosingme.com) and I will get you the information to register.

Once again, thank you to everyone who entered, Tweeted, Facebooked, etc about this giveaway.

And a special thank you to the Madison Mini Marathon for making this possible!

You people rock.

Win a FREE entry to the Madison Mini-Marathon

Yeah. You read that right.

But more on that in a bit.

In searching for  races to fill my training calendar this summer, I came across the Madison Mini-Marathon. Many of my friends have done this race in years past, and I’ve only heard positive things about the race. So last week, I put Madison Mini-Marathon on my “Maybe” list. One thing that intrigued me was the M2 Challenge, presented in connection with the Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole Half Marathon.

What’s the M2 Challenge? Basically, if you run both the Madison Mini-Marathon AND the Summerfest Rock ‘n Sole Half Marathon, you get a special two-event medal! I’m not one to turn down an extra medal. Plus, it’s free as long as you complete both races! EEK!

So guess what? I’m now registered for both races!!! I figure that the Madison Mini-Marathon will be a killer training run for the Lakefront Marathon, plus I have a bunch of friends running the race. It’s a win-win!

Oh yeah. About that giveaway.

I am so excited to announce that the organizers of the Madison Mini-Marathon have given me A FREE ENTRY TO THE RACE to giveaway here on my blog! How awesome is that? I know. Pretty damn awesome.

What do you have to do to win?

Well, as my long-time readers know, I am basically an open book. I’ve posted about losing my pants while running at the gym, asked you if you fart while exercising and have even written about what underwear to wear when working out.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to force you to share your most embarrassing workout moment (although that would be AWESOME. And please do share. I love those stories). What I want to know is:

What is the greatest piece of exercise/health/weight loss/running/fitness advice you’ve ever heard?

Submit your answer in a comment to this post by 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2012. I will pick a winner at random and reveal the winner on my blog on March 8th!

Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary entry to the Madison Mini-Marathon. I rule. Don’t hate.

This contest closed on 3/7/12 at 8 p.m. Thanks!

Planning to train for a marathon

I know that training for a marathon will be exhausting. But planning the training makes me want to puke.

A week after registering for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. I finally got permission to start running 1-2 miles a couple times a week and then Friday I slipped on the slushy snow as I was getting into my car and sort of tweaked my left ankle/calf/IT band/leg/etc.


Tonight I mapped out my training plan, starting with October 7, and working backwards for 30 weeks. I am merging three different Hal Higdon plans.

I have also realized that I can’t safely train for the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May, as I was planning to do, so I’m pushing back my first half marathon of 2012 to the Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole (Plus, the week before, I’ll run the equivalent of a half marathon during Ragnar).

Then, in July it’s the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon… followed by possibly the Madison Mini Marathon in August.

Enter the most hellish month of my life ever:

Followed by a marathon and epic rest week. #dontdie

I can’t be the only person who freaks out and requires insane planning before a race… What do you do to plan for a race?

Race Report: St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

So, two weeks ago I roadtripped it to the STL with some friends to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon. It was pretty epic.

First, the road trip. Annie, Nadia, Bob and I met up at the State Fair park ‘n’ ride and before we left, Annie had to pee. So we drove down to the Pettit. We got refused. HOW RUDE. The guy wouldn’t let Annie use the ATM, either.

Our trip was off to a great start.

We finally got to a gas station which had A CALIFORNIA RAISIN!

We got back on the road and played “Who can check in to more funny places on foursquare while we drive?” We all won. Here are some of the beauties from the weekend:

Once we got to St. Louis, we headed to the race expo. I’ll tell you one thing, the Rock ‘n’ Roll series knows how to do an expo. I bought things I needed and some things I didn’t (per usual). After I said adieu to Annie, her sister Beth, Nadia and Bob, I headed west to visit one of my bestest friends, Holly. And her mom. And her THREE adorable dogs. We went out for dinner and had a great time that night, and the next morning watching a horror film and playing stupid games on our iPads, whilst cuddling with the dogs. It was a great visit.

Then I met up with Patrick and Lindsey (my friends living in DC) who are from STL and were home for the race. We sat and talked for HOURS. It was so great to catch up with them, talk about geeky stuff, journalism (and me getting out of the biz). I’m so glad I got to see them the day before the race, because I never found them on race day! (Which reminds me, I missed Sam from Sacramento too!!!) BOO.

Fast forward to an evening with three Munkwitzes. Thats Munkwitz overload. But awesome. I spent the night with Annie, Beth, Kim and Beth’s hubby Adam. Adam made us a great pasta dinner… of course we had to carb load the night before the race!

The next morning, we woke up and got ready for the race. I had gotten everything ready the night before, so there wasn’t much to worry about. I nibbled on my Clif Mojo bar, drank some water and anxiously waited to leave for the race. I wasn’t very talkative, but I wasn’t nervous, which was a new one for me. I had a feeling things would go well for me during the race. I was excited to do the race with all my friends from across the country, even if I didn’t see them, I knew they were there. 😉

We dropped off our bags at the gear check and headed to our corrals. I said goodbye to the Munkwitz girls and went to Corral 22 (second from the last, of course). It took about 30 minutes from when the race started to when I finally crossed the start line! That’s what happens when you have 21,000 runners!

It was such a beautiful morning, and pretty cool to run through downtown St. Louis. We passed Busch Stadium (where I stopped to get a picture of me flipping the Cards the Bird)…

Busch Stadium. And the bird, for good measure. Gotta support the brewers.

the arch…

And we're off!

… and a bunch of other cool buildings.

But now, on to the ACTUAL race recap.

The race started off really well for me. Except for stupid people who think that just because I’m fat, this was my first race. I can’t tell you how many times someone said, “Good for you! This your first?” I know they were being encouraging, but I took it as a dig. Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m slow. But I know what I’m doing.

In fact, about 10 minutes into the first mile, I realized I was going to have a split in the 12s. THE FUCKING 12s! I knew this would mean T-R-O-U-B-L-E for later in the race so I forced myself to slow down and walk a bit. After the first mile, I pretty much stuck to a run 5-6 minutes, walk 1 min interval ratio. Of course, I was flexible with the intervals due to the rolling hills and water stops… and maneuvering through groups of people. I was pretty proud of myself when, at about mile 5, I was encouraging a fellow racer (who WAS a race virgin)… telling him he had it and not to worry. He was asking about time limits and I told him that if he kept his pace going, he would be fine. Then he realized I was 5 corrals behind him and had caught up to him. I told him not to worry and that he was doing great… and I kept on trucking.

For the first time, I left the iPod and my Nathan handheld water bottle at home. I’ve recently become very annoyed by carrying water on long runs, and I knew there would be water every 1.5 miles, so I’d be fine. And as for the music, it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll race so there were bands along the course. I’ve also been avoiding the iPod during runs lately. I’ve been getting rid of everything except for my phone and shot blocks. And inhaler, of course.

Running without the iPod and water bottle was FREEING. It was also scary. I was alone with my thoughts. MY HEAD YOU GUYS. I had 3 hours of just me and my brain. I got a lot of thinking and soul searching done. It was a very, VERY personal experience for me. I don’t even know how to describe it. I dug deep into my soul, examined some priorities in life and even questioned if running was something I wanted to continue. At one point, I thought, “seriously, what the fuck am I doing?” Yes, I’d say I hit the wall alright. I worked through some things during this race. It was all very unexpected. Maybe that is why I haven’t written the race report for two weeks – I wanted to keep it all for me. And I’m not going into specifics for that very reason.

Woah. Back to the race.

I was rocking until the 8th mile (9th was even worse). It took 2 hours for the first 8 miles (incl. water stops and photo breaks), so I was PUMPED! I knew if I could keep things going, I was going to obliterate my PR.

And then, there were hills.

Well, they weren’t so much hills as they were inclines. Long, slow, drawn out inclines. My quads were on FIRE.

Things started hurting. I started getting snarky. Well, you know, more than usual. I took longer walk breaks (2-3 min). I wasn’t going to let a little pain keep me from beating my PR.

As I approached the finish line, (you could hear it before you saw it), I got excited. I was almost there. I turned the corner and sprinted the last quarter mile to the finish. I wanted to finish strong. And I did.


PR by 9:08. Average pace: 15:27. The end.

Splits: 14:29, 14:49, 14:40, 15:46, 14:46, 14:38, 16:00, 16:56, 15:45, 15:57, 15:43, 16:04, 15:27, 13:40 (.25mi)